Mass Timber in Office Construction: Does it impact the cost and programme of your project?

Business people analysing investment graph


In the fifth session hosted by G&T as part of the ongoing Mass Timber Office series the panel of experts focussed on what implications using mass timber for office construction may have on a project’s cost, programme and the procurement approach, from the design phase right through to construction.

Comprising five internal experts, Matt Holman, Steve Bennett, Oliver Booth, Paul Robinson and Jess Pennell, the all-G&T panel discussed the various steps and considerations that need to be made when choosing mass timber solutions.

Following an audience poll question to kick off the session, it was voted that ‘sustainability’ was the main driver behind the aspiration for using mass timber within office construction, with 46% of forum attendees choosing this option. Embodied carbon/carbon offset was the second most popular answer with 31% of the audience saying that this was the main driver for wanting to use mass timber on projects.

G&T associate director, Jess Pennell, picked up on this result, noting that sustainability plays a significant role in the increased interest in mass timber solutions, often due to timber being the only truly renewable building material and the links that can be drawn to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Jess then went into detail about many of the key drivers that have to be considered prior to making the decision on whether or not to use a mass timber solution.

Not only did the group consider pre-construction and the design phase of a project, but also the team that would need to be selected to deliver a mass timber project successfully and the stakeholders that would need to be consulted throughout the duration of a project.

G&T partners, Steve Bennett and Oliver Booth, dissected the cost implications of building with mass timber and how this could affect the budget in comparison with other more traditional methods of construction. There is a combination of factors that must be considered when undertaking any project. The interplay between the choices made on form, use, location and materiality will influence the cost of a project significantly and drive the method for how a building can be built most economically.

Moving from costs, the group then looked at factors such as procurement, off-site testing and the importance of the delivery strategy. G&T partner, Paul Robinson, highlighted the significance of finalising the crane strategy and how using mass timber may impact the programme of your development during the construction phase.

The key messages from both this panel and the audience questions during the session echo many of the same findings from the previous forums.

“Sustainability and the momentum behind achieving net-zero is the driving force behind developer appetite in exploring mass timber/hybrid offices.”

The session found that although time on site isn’t necessarily reduced - good planning, strong design team relationships and early engagement with the supply chain, whilst considering the use of a PCSA for structures, can save time and lead to a better design. This then reduces mistakes post contract and saves additional costs during the construction phase.

G&T launched the Mass Timber Office forum to bring together experts from across the industry to discuss and debate the barriers of using mass timber in office construction. Hosted by partners Matt Holman and Oliver Booth, these forums focus on hot topics such as Insurance, Fire and Sustainability, to help share knowledge and information that can be referred to when considering mass timber for commercial office projects.

For more information about the Mass Timber Office Forum or for access to the full report from the Cost, Programme and Procurement panel please contact the team at